Sunday, 22 December 2013

Shelter from the storm

As I write this, we are refugees.  We're currently at M's folks' place, where they have amazing luxuries like heat and electricity that are sadly lacking in our neck of the woods.  Last night Toronto got hit by a nasty freezing rain storm that coated everything in a thick layer of ice, ultimately causing severe power outages as ice-heavy tree limbs gave up the ghost and took out power lines as they came crashing down. 

We initially thought that we weren't getting hit as badly as meteorologists predicted, but as we were watching Saturday Night Live last night we started hearing crazy noises outside.  At first we thought it was just our garbage and recycling bins blowing around, but then we figured out that it was a combination of the BOOM of power transformers exploding and the C-C-R-A-A-C-K of tree branches tumbling into our yard.  The power flickered on and off all night, making sleep all but impossible (why oh why must smoke detectors make that shrieking beep every time they lose/gain electricity?) and we eventually lost it completely around 5am.  M and I took turns getting out of bed to see what had made the latest noise, hoping that our car wasn't being destroyed by branches falling from the large birch in our front yard.  Fortunately most of the damage seems to have been confined to the yard-side of the tree rather than the part that overhangs the driveway (as well as the power line connecting our house to the main electrical line).
 The view from our bedroom window this morning.  Poor birchy.

About 4am we both happened to be out of bed looking into our backyard when a gigantic limb fell off our neighbour's tree, which overhangs our yard.  It ended up crashing onto our shed, taking out a wire of some kind that runs from the back of the house to a main line above our back fence.  Strangely, this didn't end up resulting in a loss of power, so I have no idea if it's an electrical line or something else.  We've been avoiding it just to make sure, and wouldn't let Buddy out into the backyard on his own.  Unfortunately the Toronto Hydro phone line that you can call to report downed wires is totally out of commission due to call volume, so we still haven't been able to report it some 14 hours later.

Backyard view.  Cleanup's gonna be fun!

We hunkered down at home for the morning, hoping that we'd be one of the lucky ones to get our power restored relatively quickly.  Right now Toronto Hydro is saying that it could be up to 72 hours before full service is restored.  We wimped out somewhere around 3pm, when the temperature in the house hit 18 degrees (65 F) and we started fantasizing about hot food and coffee.  Although I was initially hesitant to head out on the roads for the 1.5 hour drive to M's parents' house, my cold feet eventually won out and we abandoned ship.  We had to re-route around a couple of huge tree limbs blocking the roads in our neighbourhood, but the main thoroughfares were actually pretty good travel-wise.  And of course, as much as this storm has made a hell of a mess, it's ironically very pretty as well.

View from the car as we got the hell out of Dodge.

Despite being displaced from our house, we're actually quite lucky in that we were planning on spending Christmas with M's parents at their place anyway so it's not like we have to reorganize some gigantic family get-together as I'm sure many Torontonians are doing right now.  And our municipal representatives are pretty on the ball, so I'm sure that things will be back up and running efficiently in no time.

 
Ladies and gentlemen, Mayor Rob Ford!

Scratch that.  We're fucked.

21 comments:

  1. Wow, that must have been a pretty scary ordeal. I'm glad you guys made it through the night safely and I'm glad things worked out with staying with M's parents -just arriving a little earlier. Yeah, clean up will totally suck, but this is my OCD side, it will look really good while it's done. I actually like doing yard work, as you can actually measure your progress by the number of filled lawn and leaf bags. Oh, I had been so tempted to make a Rob Ford comment for some time...but I held out!

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    1. You are more than welcome to come do my yard work, that's how good a friend I am. As for Rob Ford, I can happily say I didn't vote for him so this is a safe space for ridicule.

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  2. Oh my....that photo out the car is actually quite pretty; too bad for the inconvenience it caused you though.

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  3. Oh no! Nature can be simply wild. Apart from the physical effects of severe weather there is a toll on the emotions as well. I hope things are back to normal for you as soon as possible. And I'm glad you have a safe and warm place to stay.

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  4. Yikes on the ice storm and the Mayor!! I'm glad you had a safe place to escape your frozen neighborhood. It's crazy how beautiful everything looks under ice. Of course it's even crazier how much of a mess it's all causing.

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  5. Oh boy doesn't sound fun at all! Glad you found shelter so far and could stay put there. Looking at the snow, I do not miss Toronto's winter time. I happened to have gone to Toronto a few times during winter time and it. was. COLD. My dad's aunt's birthday was around early February and we would go there to celebrate it with her, in deep winter. I also went there my first year of college for Spring Break and it was the coldest ever. I went to Boston for college so I thought that Boston was cold. But nope. Toronto was the one cold place. This brings back all the memory of the cold cold Toronto. I hope that everything will be sorted out for you very very soon. Stay warm!

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    1. What's funny is that, in the grand scheme of things, Toronto isn't even all that cold due to the fact that it's on a lake. Now Ottawa, which is in a valley...THAT'S cold. I lived there for five years and have never experienced cold like that.

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  6. Oh no!! I'm glad you guys are safe and sound!

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  7. You guys really got hit!! It almost reminds me of when we had Hurricane Juan and we had to clear all the fallen trees from my parents back yard. We were without power for almost a week if I remember correctly!! But being without power and doing yard clean up in the winter is a lot tougher!

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  8. Luckily we were only out of power for a few hours on Saturday. My husband does have some limbs to clean off of the roof and we might have lost our poor Magnolia tree. It is so weird not having things that we have become so accustom to, light power :)

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  9. Yikes! Glad you guys got out. And I have to say Rob Ford seems like a fantastic fictional character. Perfect SNL fodder, but I'm sure he's a little less than desirable as an actual real life political leader.

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    1. I cycle between pity, disgust, and outright hilarity with him. It's super embarrassing that we can't get rid of him though. He's a buffoon.

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  10. As horrifically cold as Saskatchewan gets (I think it was -36 this morning), I've always been thankful that we don't get hit with ice storms. (I guess it's too cold for that or something.)

    I'm glad you have a safe, warm place to hunker down in until things get working again.

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    1. Yeah, the irony of having your weather be too cold to snow!

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  11. Oh my goodness! So glad you are safe! And impressed you are taking it all in stride!!

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  12. Meanwhile there's record heat where I live, which is very disorienting. Have a happy holiday and may you, Buddy and M stay safe and warm!

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    1. Well now you're just gloating. ;)

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  13. Not to rub it in, but it's going to be 80 degrees in LA for Christmas (thanks for the farenheit conversion for us americans :) ). Who wants to go to the beach?
    I have been very much enjoying the antics of your mayor, but I suppose it's not so entertaining to actually have him as your mayor. I understand being embarrassed by your elected officials - California elected Arnold Schwarzenegger as it's governor! Twice!

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  14. That sounds scary! I'm glad you have a place to stay with electricity and such luxuries.

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  15. Sheesh! How scary. Glad your plans didn't change too much but my gosh! I'm with Jenn…we had sunny California weather for the holiday…sorry yours was so treacherous.

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  16. Freezing rain is awful business we get tha sometimes here in Oregon. No fun. I'm glad that your cars and house stayed relatively safe and you were able to get out of dodge. I'm sure it wasn't a pleasant car ride. Hopefully everything is back to normal now, other than the clean up.

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I'm needy and your comments validate me. Help a sister out!